Join Ze Frank for an in-depth discussion in this video Virtual walks with Google Street View, part of Creative Inspirations: Ze Frank, Comedic Digital Savant.
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(Music playing.) So this year I am dividing my life into these 35 day chunks. And the idea is, is that for the first couple of hours of the day I am going to sort of do a regular creative process, just carve some time, and this initial chunk has been focused on writing.
So I write for two hours in the morning every day, and what I have been specifically focused on is memory and trying to really encapsulate memory. And one of the things that I found was that I sort of see the world in vignettes, in these little memory moments in vignettes. So after having really exhausted a lot of those vignettes and really trying to describe them in incredible detail, what I started doing was taking walks in my mind. Instead of like focusing on things that I remembered specifically, I would just walk through places that I remembered.
And through those walks I started remembering all sorts of other stuff that I wouldn't-- If you said, think of a memory that you had when you were a child, you go to very specific things. If you start walking around that environment, all of a sudden all this other stuff is triggered. So what I tried to do was go into Google and use their Street View to facilitate that experience. And what I found was that in one particular walk, like this one right here, which is out of my house and we are going to go over to the side here and just walk to my bus stop.
What I found was just taking this walk brought back all these kinds of memories of the neighbors and the paper route that I had, and also the kind of stillness that this space had. And it's almost a boredom, which is an amazing feature of youth that you tend to forget, but there was so much stillness and there's a stillness that is hard to access as an adult, and I have a lot of nostalgia for that kind of stillness and boredom now. And so what I am doing right now is asking people to take these walks and to write me, and that's right here.
Right there is where I used to wait for the bus stop. And it's interesting because this view doesn't have that much emotional connection for me, but if I stand here in this spot and whip the camera around at this little patch, right here, it was like a little no man's land. It's just brush, but I definitely stared at this a lot when I was a kid and it has this strange sort of meaning to me, because it's this sort of dense unknown and definitely triggered a lot of like stuff around there.
So I am asking other people to take walks that they remember from their childhood and then to write me about their experience. I am really interested in how they experience what happened and I ask them to kind of just reflect on that and I just-- There was a line in here that I just absolutely loved about the experience of using Google Street View. It definitely made me feel nostalgic and remember some of the old friends from that time of my life, but it's really strange to me how egocentric I must have been to have made those memories completely about my experience, and I didn't even remember the other person or people who I shared such a vivid moment with me.
I suppose that the location is still at my fingertips. I could go there any time, but there is something about the way it was pressed into my memory that makes me not want to go back there and see it from my tainted adult perspective. It's like watching "Evil Dead" when I was 13 and thinking it was cool and scary and having it shape and mold the expectations and ideas about horror movies in the future, but then going back and watching it a second time when I was 25 and thinking, wow, I thought this was scary? I love that kind of reflection. It's a really poignant observation, and it's something-- It's a level of depth about this kind of experience that of course I wouldn't have had on my own.